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June 12, 2003

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada Before 1865

There are no comprehensive lists of immigrants arriving in Canada prior to 1865. Until that year, shipping companies were not required by the government to keep their passenger manifests.

If your ancestor arrived from the UK you may find him/her in lists pertaining to British-subsidized immigration schemes for the period 1817-1831.

You might also find an ancestor in correspondence of the Secretary of State on immigration for 1817-1857. There are lists of immigrants, mainly Irish, and entry books re immigration, and assisted emigration to British North America.

These must be ordered offline.

There are passenger lists to Canada before 1865 on The Olive Tree Genealogy.

There are also some passenger lists which were kept by shipping agents in the originating country. For example, the Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents gives sailings from Londonderry to Philadelphia PA, Quebec, and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871.

Olive Tree has some passenger lists from these records online, and will be adding more as time permits. For an index of clickable links to those JJ Cooke passenger lists online to date, see

There are also the William McCorkell & Co. lists beginning in 1863 and ending in 1871.

The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are also available. They cover the years 1831 to 1892.

Details on these (where they are, how to get them) can be found in "Immigration to Canada before 1865" at

You can also search the online database at

You might also want to join the mailing list for immigration to Canada before 1865. You can sub from the URL above.

If you want to search online, you may have limited success because only a very small percentage of ships to Canada have been transcribed and put online.

However here is a custom search engine I recommend to make your search time more efficient (and hopefully more successful!)It searches dozens of websites at once.

You can also check out the pages for ships passenger lists to the following parts of Canada:

Ships Passenger Lists to Quebec

Ships Passenger Lists to New Brunswick

Ships Passenger Lists to Nova Scotia

June 9, 2003

Naturalization & Citizenship Records in Canada: What's Available

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Canadian Citizenship Act began on 1 January 1947. From 1763 to that date, people born in the provinces and colonies of British North America were all British subjects. Thus immigrants from Great Britain and the Commonwealth did not have to be naturalized.

Before 1854
A few naturalization registers exist for Upper Canada (Ontario), for the years 1828-1850 only. A nominal card index is available at the National Archives of Canada. You can request a search by sending a written inquiry to

1854 to the present
Citizenship and Immigration Canada holds records of naturalization and citizenship from 1854. The originals of records dated between 1854 and 1917 have been destroyed. However a nominal card index survives. It provides information compiled at the time of naturalization, such as present and former place of residence, former nationality, occupation, date of certification, name and location of the responsible court. The index rarely contains any other genealogical information.
Records created after 1917 are more detailed, indicating the surname, given name, date and place of birth, entry into Canada, and in some cases, the names of spouses and children.

Requests for copies of naturalization/citizenship records should be mailed to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
360 Laurier Ave West
10th Floor

You must be a Canadian citizen or an individual present in Canada. Each application for copies must be submitted on an Access to Information Request Form available from most Canadian public libraries and federal government offices. The cost is $5.00, payable to the Receiver General for Canada.

You must enclose a signed consent from the person concerned or proof that he/she has been deceased twenty years. Proof of death can be a copy of a death record, a newspaper obituary or a photograph of the gravestone showing name and death date.

You must include the following information: full name, date and place of birth, and if possible, the number of the Canadian citizenship or naturalization certificate.

For help finding your ancestors' Canadian Naturalization Records see

To search for Ships to Canada see

Permission to copy and reproduce
© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

The Olive Tree Genealogy

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